Just because it's winter it doesn't mean you won't be hitting the road to visit family or friends. The last thing you want to have happen is to be in an accident.
This time of year, when the weather can easily include snow, ice and bitter cold temperatures, you should take a little time to review some driving safety tips that can improve your chances of making it back home safe and sound.
- Preparing your vehicle - Regardless of the distance you will be travelling, you should take time to prepare your vehicle. This can include scheduling a regular tune-up, adjusting tire pressure, checking wipers/fluids and getting your radiator and cooling system serviced.
- Emergency kit items - An emergency kit should include flashlights, jumper cables, a first aid kit, flares and a fire extinguisher. You should also have water, non-perishable food and a phone charger. If your phone does not have GPS maps, bring along a few standard paper maps.
- Plan out the trip - You may be someone who enjoys flying by the seat of your pants and wants to experience the unexpected. However, driving with loved ones during the holiday season is not the time to take chances. If you are on a two-day trip, have a destination planned and secured for the end of the first-day. You should know all your exits by name and the cities you are going through beforehand.
- Drive safe - This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is easy to forget when you are trying to make good time. Refrain from cutting off large trucks, speeding or taking unnecessary risks. Driving tired can also be a real danger, so pull over or have someone else drive if you are feeling drowsy.
- Anticipate the weather - Check the weather along your path and adjust travel times if necessary. Knowing the weather before driving up or around a mountain or a secluded area can be a lifesaver. Consider downloading a good weather app on your phone to assist you.
- Stay focused on the road - Distracted driving is not just looking at your phone. Car games, the radio and talking to family members can all take your attention away from the road. If you download a GPS or weather app on your phone for the trip, have someone else monitor them while you drive.
- Wear your seat belt - Wearing a seat belt can reduce the risk of a deadly injury by 45 percent.
If you follow some basic safety tips before and during your trip, you can give yourself a little peace of mind for any unexpected situations that may arise.